Flashing Cyanogenmod Into A Nexus 7 2012 Tablet

I bought my Nexus 7 tablet a bit late in the game, in 2013, when everyone else was buying the new Nexus 7 2013 edition. Although being a model behind has its obvious drawbacks, the benefits can include a device with all the initial problems resolved (avoiding the first adopter’s problems with software and hardware), a cheaper price and usually a year’s worth of reviews and discussions to read prior to making the purchase. However, like everything else, one has to buy carefully.

There have been a couple of updates from Google on the software front since the tablet has been released, including the update to Lollipop (Android 5.1.1). This update, as you may already know, has caused a lot of grief to a lot of people, by making some tablets unusably slow, including mine (oh, why didn’t I say “no” to the update dialog). Far from making it a better experience (something one expects from a software update), it turns the tablet into something you do not want to use and there is no going back to previous version.

I have been leaving the tablet unused for quite a few months now, since it takes a few minutes just to get past the lock screen, so yesterday I decided to load a custom ROM, namely Cyanogenmod to make it my daily device again. This, as it happened, gave me a new set of problems to deal with, namely:

  • After flashing a new recovery image, namely TWRP-3.0.0-0-signed.zip, the device will boot into recovery, but cannot mount any of the partitions such as data and system, which results in a failed attempt to install Cyanogenmod and Gapps (Google Apps package).
  • I tried the multirom version as discussed in this web page, but it does not even boot (I think it was meant for the later models of Nexus 7).
  • I tried to flash a CWM recovery image for Nexus 7 as listed on this web page and it has the same problem mounting partitions as the TWRP recovery software.

So what to do? After a few hair pulling moments, I decided to give TWRP another try, this time, thinking that this device has been around for a while, I decided to flash an older version of TWRP, namely version 2.8.6. I thought, surely, if the newer version does not work, then the older version may not work? Wrong. TWRP version 2.8.6 recovery image worked perfectly. I was able to wipe the System partition, flash Cyanogenmod version 10.2 and Gapps (make sure you get the correct version of Gapps) and root the device successfully. Now I am looking forward to using my old Nexus 7 tablet as a daily device again.


How my HTC One X got a new ROM

HTC cyanogenmodI have had my HTC One X for nearly 18 months now. It has been my primary phone since I obtained it through Virgin Mobile Australia. It has been a sweet and responsive device and my trusty companion. However, like many phones and computers, it loses its snappiness when more and more apps are installed and deinstalled over time. As well, it seems to have quite a few Optus-branded apps (Virgin Mobile buys air time from Optus) which are impossible to uninstall. Originally I just disabled them from the “Manage Apps” section of the Settings menu. However, it would be nice to be able to remove them all and reclaim the space.

This is the perfect reason to either do a factory reset or better, install a custom ROM onto the phone to be able to get a more current version of the Android OS without being at the mercy of companies like HTC, which often takes their time updating to new versions of Android and also arbitrarily decides to not update the ROM for your phone because it was not released three months ago. So I found out that there is a Cyanogenmod ROM available for this device. My phone is an HTC One X international 32GB and it runs the Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core chipset.

Here are the steps that I took to get Cyanogenmod installed on my phone:

  1. Backup all data. This step is very important, as sometimes you need to preserve your call logs and SMS messages. I use SMS Backup & Restore and Call Logs Backup & Restore to back them up. You can also backup all your apps using something like Astro File Manager.
  2. Unlock bootloader. HTC has provided an official way to unlock your phone’s bootloader. You can unlock the phone’s bootloader by going to HTCDev website. Create an account and then follow the instructions provided. When prompted to paste the code that your phone generates into a text box, make sure that you get the format exactly like the example given, otherwise you might get an error. Remember that this step WILL delete all data on the phone (except the content of the SD card).
  3. Flash a custom recovery image. You can download a Clockworkmod Touch Recovery here
  4. Gain root access, by installing this file here, using Clockworkmod “Install Zip from SD Card” menu item. This will give you root access once the phone has rebooted. Once you have gained root access, you can install something like Titanium Backup to backup your system the second time (apps and data).
  5. Flash a boot image. This step is very important, otherwise you will get the dreaded “com.android.phone” error. To flash the boot image, you need to download a cyanogenmod ROM zip file and then unzip a copy of it (put the other copy on the phone’s sdcard). extract the boot.img file from the zip file and then copy it into the “platform-tools” directory on your computer. To flash it into the boot partition, use “fastboot flash boot boot.img”. Reboot the phone.
  6. Backup factory ROM. If you want to ever restore the original ROM, you should backup your factory ROM in case your custom ROM install goes haywire.
  7. Install Cyanogenmod using the Clockworkmod Recovery “install zip from sdcard” option.
  8. Boot phone and have fun!

These steps are by no means the definitive guide to how to install custom ROM on the HTC One X (EndeavorU), but is a summary of my experience. Hope someone finds it useful.